Trump may throw in towel on Seven Springs

Property is one of several under investigation for improper financial reporting

New York /
Oct.October 16, 2020 10:05 AM
Seven Springs in Westchester and Donald Trump (Getty; Trump Org)

Seven Springs in Westchester and Donald Trump (Getty; Trump Org)

The Trump Organization is considering the sale of a sprawling Westchester estate that, after years of the company’s unsuccessful attempts to develop it, has come under investigation.

Local agents said the property, known as Seven Springs, would sell for around $50 million or even less, although President Donald Trump’s business has valued it at nearly six times that figure over the years, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The firm lowered its valuation after agreeing to preserve part of the property, but the New York attorney general’s office is probing whether it received improper tax benefits as a result.

Trump purchased the property in 1995 for $7.5 million, but his plans to subdivide and develop it were stymied. The value of the property — which Trump reported as $261 million in 2011 — was based in part on anticipated revenue from planned residential developments that were never built. A 2012 appraisal pegged the property at $291 million, the New York Times reported.

Trump sought to develop the 213-acre property, first into a golf course, and then into luxury residences, but encountered opposition to both plans — in part because the property straddles three different localities. Trump then entered into a conservation agreement with a nonprofit to not develop 158 acres of woodland.

That easement was valued at $21.1 million in a 2016 appraisal, conducted for the president’s son Eric Trump, that valued the property at $56.5 million. A 2018 appraisal valued the property at $50 million.

Attorney General Letitia James is investigating the property’s easement to determine whether the original value was bloated and the post-easement value understated — at zero — to inflate the tax benefit of the agreement.

The investigation, which includes several other properties owned by the Trump Organization, was initiated after Michael Cohen testified before Congress in 2019 that the company falsely reported the value of its real estate assets.

The 15-bedroom property, built in 1919 for Eugene Meyer, the first president of the World Bank, drew attention in 2009 when Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi paid Trump rent to pitch a Bedouin-style tent there.

The mansion features three pools, an antique bowling alley and two service wings.

The property has not been listed publicly, but a spokesperson for the Trump Organization told the Journal that it is “one of the largest, most valuable and most iconic properties in Bedford” and said that “if the right opportunity presents itself, the Trump family would certainly entertain it.”

[WSJ] — Georgia Kromrei


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